BY Limin Zhou
A motion put forward by the Conservatives in the Canadian House of Commons was passed on Wednesday, calling Chinese Communist regime a threat to Canadian interests and values, and urging the government to “combat China’s growing foreign operations” in Canada.
“We call on the Liberal government to finally grow a spine and make a decision on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network,” Conservative leader Erin O’Toole said.
The motion urges the federal government to decide within 30 days whether Huawei should be banned from participating in Canada’s 5G networks.
“Canadians expect the Liberal government to uphold our democratic norms and respect the will of Parliament by taking action to defend Canada’s national security and make a decision on Huawei and Canada’s 5G network,” said Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong in a news release.
5G networks offer data speeds up to 50 or 100 times faster than 4G networks and are expected to power everything from telemedicine and remote surgery to self-driving cars.
The United States is pressuring Canada and its allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network to ban Huawei because it views the company as an espionage arm of the Chinese state. Huawei was founded by a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army and has close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Canada is the only country out of the members of the Five Eyes not to ban or plan to ban the company from its 5G networks.
In addition to the decision on Huawei, Canada must develop a “robust plan” to counter China’s subversive operations in Canada “through its agents and foreign operations here on our soil,” said Chong, in a speech in the House of Commons on Nov. 17.
He said a new framework for dealing with China is required in light of competing and urgent risks: China is failing to uphold its responsibility to the rules-based international system by ignoring its condition of entry into the World Trade Organization, manipulating its currency using state-owned enterprises to interfere in other countries’ economies, and infringing on intellectual property.
The Chinese regime is also “violating international law” in its treatment of Kovrig and Spavor and other imprisoned Canadians, and in its treatment of the people of Hong Kong and religious and ethnic minorities, he said.
China has imprisoned two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in apparent retaliation for the RCMP arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou nearly two years ago on a U.S. extradition warrant.
The non-binding motion passed in Parliament on Nov. 18 with 179 MPs voting in favour and 146 against. The motion was supported by the majority of MPs in all opposition parties as well as five Liberal MPs, while the majority of Liberals, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, voted against it.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was noncommittal Tuesday on the timing of his government’s long-awaited 5G decision. He reiterated his government’s position that it is relying on the advice of security and intelligence agencies, is consulting with allies, and is committed to keeping Canadians and their businesses safe.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said during question period on Nov. 17 that he is open to working with the Conservatives on national security and foreign policy and would be prepared to propose constructive amendments moving forward.
Champagne said the government is working on a new plan to deal with China because China is not the same country it was four years ago and Canada needs a plan to respond to the “new reality.”
With files from Reuters and Justina Wheale